On Sunday I completed my first triathlon.
Just a beginners distance. Not one of those Olympic distance malarkeys. I’m fairly fit but I’m not crazy.
Why did I do it? Just to see if I could.
That’s the thing about this fitness stuff. It gets under your skin. You try something out and then begin to ask yourself if you can go further. Take the next step. Push yourself even harder.
I was nervous. You never know what to expect the first time you do an event. What will it be like? Can I do it? Will other people look at me and wonder what the hell I am doing here? Hoping that you won’t be last across the line.
I worried about being the only person swimming breast stroke, as opposed to that proper swimming stuff. I worried about being the only person on a mountain bike rather than a proper one. I worried about whether I had the right equipment.
My nerves were especially bad because I’m not a strong swimmer. I have lousy technique partly due to the fact that I will not under any circumstances put my face into the water. Whilst this might impact my ability to swim terribly well, this seems like a good trade off to me on the basis that under water, there is no air to breathe. None at all!
For this same reason I failed swimming at school. None of that jumping in the deep end in your pyjamas and diving for a brick for me. Oh no. I held onto the side and refused to do it no matter how loud the PE teacher shouted or my school friends laughed. And to this date I have never needed to save a drowning brick whilst in my nightwear, so I think that proves I was right all along.
But every time you do something different, every time you give yourself that push, you learn a little something along the way.
This weekend, I learned that I worried too much. I came in a whole 30 minutes quicker than the time that I thought I would.
L learned that imposter syndrome still gets hold of me from time to time. But I figured out a way around those fears about the water all the same.
I realised that even if I had been last, it didn’t matter at all. Because I was having a go. Challenging myself. And by standing on that starting line you are doing more than most people ever do.
Even when you don’t want to do something, when you wonder why on earth you thought this was a good idea, you are never sorry when you do it. You never regret holding a medal in your hand saying that you did it.
And finally, as is usually the case, I learned that I want to do it all over again. Faster, next time.
For the record, I also now recognise that drinking wine does amount to carb loading. Just in case you were wondering.
My next challenge is Leeds Half Marathon on 8th May. I’m running it for Retrak Charity, who are working towards no child living on the streets. If you want to sponsor me, you can do so here.